Yoga – The Ahh Feeling I Used to Seek in Drugs…



Can meetings alone make you blissful?

Recently, I attended a wonderful kundalini yoga retreat. It gave me that ahh feeling I always sought in drugs. During that pocket of bliss, I paused to reflect and asked myself, why don’t I practice yoga more?  Yoga, particularly kundalini yoga, is vital to my recovery. It helps connect my mind, body and spirit. It provides a synergy that I cannot attain elsewhere, that je ne se quoi.


But, sadly, I always find something better to do. My life is so busy, that I feel like I am spinning plates most days. In a typical week: I work full-time, I attend 2 meetings, I am developing a business, I go to the gym 4-5 times, I write for publications, I cycle 50 miles and I try and fit in some social time and a relationship.


Don’t Forget the Downtime…

Oh, and I’m planning a move to America at the end of the year – with nowhere to live and no job to go to. I spend so much time focusing on planning all of these activities into my week that I forget downtime. I get side-tracked and I don’t give it the priority it deserves. We all know that ditching meetings screams warning, but why don’t we place the same emphasis on downtime? That quality nothing time.


I know that meetings re-centre me, or, a phrase I like to use, ‘restore my centre of gravity.’ I also know that the same can be said for downtime. Time with myself. It includes meditation, sitting quietly for five minutes, deep breathing and, yoga. Yoga brings it all together for me, it encompasses all of those aspects and more. In practicing yoga, I am telling myself that for the next 90 minutes, I am loving you, Olivia. I am investing in your soul.


Netflix and chill, does not equate to quality nothing time.


Kundalini Yoga 

For those of you who don’t know about Kundalini yoga, it is wonderful and a bit odd at the same time. It includes chanting, and strange exercises, but there is nothing else like it. It is particularly good for those in recovery. Tommy Rosen, a well-known person in long term recovery and a kundalini yoga teacher, says this:


“In the unconsciousness of our addictions we are at a Distance from Ease. There is no ease in the body for we are disconnected from it… no ease in the mind because of the constant flow of garbage being sent to it from the subconscious. There is no ease in the spirit as we have lost sight of our Soul and its mission. The great tragedy of addiction is simply that we are divine beings that have utterly lost connection with that truth.”


Kundalini bridges that gap. It connects us and provides ease. It unblocks whatever dulls our shining light and brings us to our truth. That is energizing. And I love it.


The paradox is, the more yoga I do, the more relaxed, focused and energized I am; I make healthier and more loving choices. So telling myself that I don’t have time, doesn’t cut it. Remind me of that next week will you?! For me, right now, I will tell myself and my soul, that they are both loved by investing in downtime.


Teacher’s Pet…

A perfect loving choice is to eat well. For the retreat, I made the teacher a huge batch of bliss balls. I’ve included a recipe for the coconut and goji berry version. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Coconut & Goji Berry Bliss Balls




Makes about 20 balls – these can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.


2 cups of dates

1 cup of chopped mixed nuts (or whole) ie brazil, cashew, almond

½ cup goji berries

½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut + ½ cup for rolling

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs melted coconut oil


  1. In a food processor, add the dates and blend until they are finely chopped and start to stick together;
  2. Add the nuts, ½ the coconut oil, and blend until combined;
  3. Add the vanilla, remaining coconut oil, and desiccated coconut and blend until combined;
  4. Place the mixture in a bowl and take a small amount and roll into a ball;
  5. On a plate, place the remaining coconut and roll the balls in the coconut. Make the balls as big or as small as you like. The ideal size is about a golf ball. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

NB, they can be eaten straight away, but are much better when they have set overnight in the refrigerator.


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Located near Portland, OR, Olivia Pennelle (Liv) is a writer studying toward her MSW. She is the founder of the popular site Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, a site dedicated to providing the ingredients to live a fulfilling life in recovery. Liv also co-founded the podcast Breaking Free: Your Recovery. Your Way. Liv is passionate about challenging limiting mentalities and empowering others to direct their own lives, health, and recovery. She found recovery in 2012 and her pathway is a fluid patchwork of what works for her. You can find her articles across the web on podcasts and publications, including Shondaland, STAT News, The Temper, Workit Health, The Fix, Ravishly, and Grok Nation. You can follow her @livsrecoverykitchen